Tag archives: Texas

Austin, TX Charging Planned Parenthood $1 per Year to Rent City Building for Abortions

by Joshua Denton

April 23, 2015

What organization gets charged only $1 per year in rent in order to systematically kill its youngest members? Planned Parenthood in Austin, Texas of course — and for the last forty years.

Planned Parenthood is being charged $1 per year for a city building that is worth $1.86 million and that should cost approximately $7,000 per month to rent.

This is a fiscally irresponsible move on behalf of the city of Austin and certainly needs to be addressed. Austin could be using revenue from renting this city building to an honorable organization for the amount it is actually worth. Abby Johnson suggests that if Planned Parenthood really cared about women’s health, it would pay the $7,000 a month rent which the city could use to provide women with healthy services and mammograms which Abby describes as “grossly underfunded.”

Meanwhile, Austin is facilitating America’s number one abortion provider in its appalling practices. The city would be in a much better position to provide more positive, healthy services to women and the community if they were to charge Planned Parenthood the proper rent instead of charging Planned Parenthood $1 a year for a ten year lease — with a ten year extension, no less.

The favoritism shown to Planned Parenthood is disturbing, but it is more than a city-wide problem. The federal government gives Planned Parenthood a handout every year at the expense of taxpayers.

Sadly, Planned Parenthood shows no favoritism to the unborn or their mothers, on whose vulnerability they prey daily. And as FRC’s Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment, Ken Blackwell, noted recently, Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, “was part of the eugenics movement back in the 1930s. Her goal was to use abortion to cull what she considered inferior races from the human gene pool. According to Sanger, ‘Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated.’ She opened her first abortion clinics in inner cities, and it’s no accident that even today, ‘79 percent of Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities are located in black or minority neighborhoods’.”

Last year Planned Parenthood received $528.4 million from the federal government in funding. This is money taken from taxpayers and used to support a business which makes a profit from killing unborn babies. Last year, Planned Parenthood had a total revenue of $1,303.4 million with an excess revenue over expenses of $127.1 million.

Planned Parenthood obviously does not need the financial help the city of Austin is providing to them and is certainly capable of paying the proper amount of rent that every other business is expected to pay for the use of a city building. Surely, the city of Austin can find a use for $7,000 a month to make its underfunded city programs better.

Every city should support only those businesses that are truly concerned with the health and welfare of individuals — including a baby’s right to life. Austin catering to Planned Parenthood in this fashion is just a single instance of favoritism. It is a sad example of the lengths some leaders will go to defend and support a false ideology at the expense of killing their city’s preborn children.

Think Progress implicitly endorses Texas RFRA

by Travis Weber

December 12, 2014

Think Progress reported yesterday on a decision by the city of Dallas to revise regulations on feeding the homeless. These revisions, which made it easier to feed and care for those living on Dallas streets, were motivated by a federal court ruling last year in favor of several religious ministries desiring to take food to the homeless and feed and care for them wherever they are found.

Years ago, Dallas had cracked down on feeding the homeless and placed restrictions on how it could be done, and several Dallas area ministries and individuals who were impacted by these changes sued. The Think Progress report discusses these events:

After Big Hart Ministries Association and Rip Parker Memorial Homeless Ministry sued the city, six years passed before a judge ruled that the law violated the charities’ religious liberties under a Texas statute. Wednesday’s City Council vote carries the judge’s logic further, softening the rules charities face and effectively ending Dallas’ effort to clamp down on on-the-street feeding programs for the indigent regardless of religious affiliation.” (emphasis added)

Big Hart Ministries Association, Rip Parker Memorial Homeless Ministry, and William Edwards had sued under the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”). The Texas RFRA states that (1) sincere religious practices (2) cannot be substantially burdened by the government unless the government (3) has a compelling interest which it is (4) advancing by the least restrictive means possible. In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs had alleged that – in violation of the Texas RFRA – they had a sincere belief that their religion requires them to care for the homeless, and that the city was substantially burdening that belief by making it impossible to carry out with heavy regulations on feeding the homeless. Early in 2013, a federal judge ruled that the plaintiffs religious beliefs were indeed substantially burdened, and the city did not have a compelling interest in its regulations – thus, they violated the Texas RFRA. Finally, this past week, in response to this ruling, the Dallas City Council approved changes to regulations on feeding the homeless.

Think Progress does not refer to the Texas RFRA by name – but that’s the law which has benefitted the homeless in this situation. This is exactly what RFRAs – whether in Texas or elsewhere – are meant to accomplish: protect the exercise of sincere religious faith, in recognition of the valuable role it plays in society and benefits it brings to people around us. Furthermore, and contrary to many popular claims, RFRAs do protect religious exercise “regardless of religious affiliation.” A quick search of how the laws have been used in court will reveal that they have protected religious exercise for a variety of faiths.

It would be nice (and intellectually consistent) for Think Progress to extend this logic to other situations implicating RFRA. Indeed, the beauty of law is that it is blind to political preferences. This is why having RFRAs passed into law is so important to protecting religious freedom today. When religious freedom is diminished and made part of a political game, everyone suffers.

At Family Research Council, we fully support RFRA and what it stands for – protecting the exercise of faith for all in the face of often overreaching and too powerful governments.

A Lone Star Judge vs. 76 percent of the People

by Leanna Baumer

February 28, 2014

On Wednesday, a U.S. district judge in Texas ruled that the state’s law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman was unconstitutional. District Judge Orlando Garcia’s ruling adds to a growing list of rulings striking down state marriage amendments. Judges in Utah, Oklahoma, Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia have been all too willing to substitute their individual judgment for the voice of the people on a question that our Constitution leaves to the political process.

District Judge Garcia recycles the faulty reasoning seen in other marriage cases in recent weeks. Specifically, he asserts that Texas has no rational basis for recognizing marriage as the union of a man and a woman, ignoring the state’s argument that marriage should be recognized as such in policy because the state has a legitimate interest in ensuring that a man and a woman who bring a child into the world raise that child as dad and mom. The vast majority of Texans share this historic belief. With Wednesday’s ruling, their right to uphold that ideal has been trampled on as Texas politicians such as Senator Ted Cruz have pointed out.

Judge Garcia chose to overlook the fact that as a class of people, only opposite-sex couples are biologically capable of having children and that as a class, same-sex couples are not. By failing to acknowledge this fundamental difference, Judge Garcia bypasses what this discussion is all about: the understanding of marriage as an institution that brings men and women together to responsibly care for any children their union produces. Texas has no interest in affirming who a person can love; it does have an interest in ensuring that children are raised by their mom and dad. Marriage best accomplishes that purpose and should be recognized as a legitimate and indeed rational interest. 

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